The First Virtual Reality Movie Theater Opens Friday With 'Top Gun' in 3D


The First Virtual Reality Movie Theater Opens Friday With 'Top Gun' in 3D

Dec 27, 2017

Top Gun

If you're not up to braving the cold this Friday but still want to go to the movies, Paramount has just the thing. And if you were just gifted a new VR headset over the holidays, this is perfect timing. Deadline recently revealed that on December 29, for just 24 hours, you can put on your Oculus Rift or any other brand of virtual reality device and enter a digitally created cinema complete with a lobby and posters on the walls. Keep going into one of the auditoriums, join some friends in the virtual seats and watch an actual 3D movie playing in front of your eyes.

There's only one title available for this inaugural event: Top Gun, specifically the retrofitted 3D re-release that came out a few years back. Starting at 6pm EST Friday, screenings begin every 30 minutes over the course of 24 hours and are free to anyone with the tech and a download from the Bigscreen app. Because it's online, there is some interactivity among users. You can even chat with others, and maybe this sort of venue won't be too discouraging of "talking" during the show. 

Could this be the future of both home entertainment and moviegoing? If the Top Gun screenings are successful, perhaps Paramount and other studios will start looking at ways to charge for VR movie theater experiences. Perhaps there will be other scheduled events like this or the opportunity to buy 3D movies to watch on your headset without interactivity anytime, but the biggest question might be whether new theatrical releases could be available day and date in VR form for an additional charge. 

Imagine seeing the new Cloverfield or Mission: Impossible (to name just upcoming Paramount releases) on opening night in your home but still at a set showtime and through purchase of a special kind of movie ticket. According to the statistic site Statista, worldwide VR users are expected to reach 171 million in 2018, and that's a bunch of people who might be doing something else with their time than going to the movies. So studios might want to take this as a sign that they can still grab those potential moviegoers in a new way.

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